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How to Make Classic Macaroni Salad with Light Mayo

This classic macaroni salad is a summertime staple and is perfect for BBQs, potlucks, and picnics. It’s quick and easy to make and is a great way to use up leftover pasta. Plus, it’s a hit with both kids and adults. This recipe makes the best macaroni salad with simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. Here is a simple recipe for how to make macaroni salad with light mayo.

This classic macaroni salad is a simple dish that is perfect for summer barbecues, potlucks, and picnics. It is simply made by mixing cooked and cooled macaroni pasta with a creamy dressing made from mayonnaise, mustard, and vinegar. Other ingredients, such as diced onion, celery, bell pepper, and herbs, can be added to give the salad extra flavor and crunch.

Once all of the ingredients are combined, the salad is chilled in the refrigerator until ready to serve. You can customize this recipe with the addition of any favorite vegetables or proteins, such as diced chicken, tuna, or hard-boiled eggs and it becomes a totally different recipe every time.

macaroni salad in a white serving bowl close up with a white and pink napkin in the background

How Long Can You Keep Macaroni Salad in the Fridge?

Macaroni salad can typically be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To store macaroni salad, place it in an airtight container. Make sure to cover the top of the salad with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.

The recipe is best eaten the day it is made or the next day. But It can be kept for about 3 to 4 days. I would not keep any salad with mayo over 4 days.

macaroni salad in white serving bowl with handle 3 small white bowls on a white and pink napkin 3 spoons and one slotted serving spoon

What to Serve with Classic Macaroni Salad with Light Mayo

A classic macaroni salad is delicious with a classic hot dog and hamburger BBQ. Any time you are grilling outside with family and friends this recipe will be a hit. It is also a fun dish to bring to a potluck as it is a childhood memory for many.

Try making this recipe when you are having a deli sandwich or hoggy at a football party. Is a a great alternative to all the finger food usually served.

It goes well with any summer food like corn on the cob or grilled vegetables and is light enough to serve alongside with watermelon slices and a fruit bowl.

close up of macaroni salad with onion, peppers and celery in a whit serving bowl two small bowls in the background with a white and red napkin

How to Stop the Cooking Process when The Pasta Time is Finished

After you have cooked the pasta run the pasta under cold water. This will stop the cooking process and keep the macaroni at the level of doneness that you like.

Other Recipe You May Like to Make with Easy Macaroni Salad

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macaroni salad in a white serving bowl close up

Simple Macaroni Salad

  • Author: Crafting a Family Dinner
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 9 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 minutes
  • Yield: 12 serving 1x
  • Category: side dish



Units Scale
  • 1 pound box of pasta noodles
  • 1/2 Vadilal Onion
  • 2 Green onion
  • 4 stocks of celery
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 4 tablespoons of sweet relish
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup of light mayo
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/ teaspoon of sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook the pasta noodles according to the package, but cook for 1 minute less than recommended. This will keep the pasta firm enough to not get mushy in the recipe.Β 
  2. Drain the noodles and set aside.
  3. Chop the onion, green onion, celery, carrots, and peppers to bite size.Β  I like to use the Valdia Chopper or any chopper that makes the size of the uncooked vegetable uniform in size.
  4. Mix together the dressing, the sweet relish, mustard, light mayo apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.Β 
  5. Transfer the drained pasta and all the vegetables to a large mixing bowl.Β 
  6. Add the well-mixed dressing to the macaroni (pasta) and stir lightly but well to coat.Β 
  7. Chill to serve.Β 

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